Newcastle Contributions

Libby was in Newcastle sharing her ideas for Heartquake with Ms Renae Wilks, a teacher at Hamilton Public School. Renae was keen to get her students involved given Newcastle’s own experience with a deadly earthquake in 1989.

Newcastle Earthquake

In Renae’s words:

I have experienced an earthquake. I have heard the sirens, felt the confusion and witnessed the shock of loss and pain. I was nine years old when the earthquake hit Newcastle. The suburb of Hamilton, where I now teach and where my students live, was at its epicentre.

The students I’ve worked with on this project have heard many ‘earthquake stories’ passed down from their parents, grandparents and neighbours. It is with this background that my students and I were eager to be a part of Heartquake.

Our school felt the plight of the Nepali community keenly after the 2015 earthquake. We held a ‘Pancake Breakfast’ to raise money for survival kits to be sent to those parts of Nepal where services were most limited. While this small act provided physical assistance to those in need, Heartquake has provided our students with the chance to explore the emotional aspects of disaster and to connect with the children who have experienced it first-hand. We feel privileged to be a part of Heartquake and hope that the sharing of words and images brings healing and hope to those who need it most.

Here are some of the contributions from the students of Hamilton Primary School, Newcastle, Australia.


A young boy,
searching through the rubble.
Who knows what he’s lost;
his home,
his parents,
his toy?
What if he’s got nothing left?
What if it’s all


timothy-hayes  by Timothy Hayes


Newcastle 1989
blood-curdling, destructive
thundering, quaking, annihilating
shockwaves, temblor, sirens, disbelief
destroying, falling, burying
mammoth, devastating
Nepal 2015





by Vinayak Nagarsekar

In Hearts They Will Stay

All is ordinary
Nothing out of the norm.
Just the way it always was,
The perfect calm before a storm

Old buildings line the streets
So fragile already
No bracing, no preparation,
Nothing could be done to keep them steady

People, clouds of them
Flooding out onto roads,
Filling houses, inside buildings
They didn’t know, so there they were in their loads

It was too late
By the time anyone knew
And so it began
No one knowing what to do

Crack, crack, crack
Houses crumble
Crack, crack, crack
As the earth beneath begins to grumble

Crack, crack, crack
Buildings shake
Crack, crack, crack
As everything begins to quake

Crack, crack, crack
Screaming faces
Crack, crack, crack
As people are trapped in a thousand places

Crack, crack, crack
Nowhere to hide
Crack, crack, crack
As an earthquake cannot be defied

The ground has stopped
As some await
With blinding tears
For the aftermath to seal their fate

In between deadly vibrations
The hope against hope
For this to be the last one
The fear and panic too much to cope

Choking confusion
Deepening despair
Haunting memories,
If to live, forever to flare

To be untouched
To live unscarred
Would to be inhuman
Would to live with disregard

Huddling in tents
No more home
No more cosy bed
Or friendly garden gnome

There is nothing
And nowhere to go
Cold and wet
Living with strangers, unknown

No more mum
Or her smiling face
She is gone
Buried without a trace

We wonder where they are sometimes
They couldn’t be far away
Just like my mother once said
Forever in hearts they will stay



by Xanthe Scullion



by Lexi Moore